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10 Annuals for Pollinators

Butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds and bees add wonderful movement and great interest to our gardens. Attracting these winged friends to your garden is a fairly simple matter.  Provide them with food, water and shelter and they are happy to come and stay a while. There is a wide palette of plants that will work for both your garden and pollinators.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

One of the best things about gardening with annuals is that your plants can change every year.  You can go red, orange and yellow one year and decided that pink and purple suits you best the next.  Since you are replanting each year anyway, annuals are a great way to get creative and try new things. Over time as you try out different plants, you’ll learn which annuals both you and the winged critters love. You’ll get a great range of colors, flower shapes, sizes and types to consider and see what appeals most to you.

CAMPFIRE® Flame Bidens

If your porch, patio or window boxes are located in full blazing sun, this is the plant for you. This vigorous annual thrives in heat and doesn’t mind if the soil dries out a bit now and then. Its deep orange and yellow bicolor flowers keep right on coming from spring into fall atop the bushy, green foliage. Try pairing it with the  Luscious® Lantana which thrive in the same conditions and attracts a multitude of pollintors. Campfire attracts bees.

12-18” tall x 18-24” spread. Full sun.

LADY GODIVA® Orange Calendula

Now there’s a new option for your spring containers and gardens with the introduction of Lady Godiva Orange, commonly known as pot marigold. This is a flower that you can plant in the cool, early spring weather and count on to bloom into the summer months. Since it produces few seeds, the flowers are encouraged to keep right on coming. Try pairing it with Sunsatia® Nemesia and Pure White Butterfly® Argyranthemum. It attracts butterflies.

10-16” tall x 12-18” spread. Part sun to sun.



This cheerful new Superbells is fun to mix with just about any other color in combination containers, hanging baskets and window boxes on a sunny porch or patio. Each magenta pink bloom is decorated with a creamy white star pattern. They appear on cascading stems from spring to fall without having to remove the spent flowers, so use it as a filler or spiller in your containers. Calibrachoa grows best in containers with good drainage, so make sure there is at least one hole in the bottom of the one you use. Attracts hummingbirds. 

6-12” tall x 12-24” wide. Part sun to sun.



TOUCAN Coral Canna x generalis

If you love the look of tropical plants but need one that is as easy to grow as a petunia, try our Toucan Cannas. They grow quickly to make bold thrillers in your large containers and thrive in the landscape too. Their more manageable size makes them more proportional and easier to pair with other plants in combination containers. Cannas flower like crazy all summer in warm climates where they love the heat, and are grown more for their bold foliage in northernmost climates where they bloom late in the season. Toucan Coral bears tropical salmon pink flowers that attract pollinators atop its lush green foliage. It appeals to butterflies.

30-48” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.


KARALEE® Petite Pink Gaura

You’ll love the vigorous growth of this improved new Gaura. Though it is petite by Gaura standards, it holds its own as a flowering thriller for mixed containers and in landscapes where its plentiful pink blooms will appear all season long. Gaura is heat and drought tolerant and requires little maintenance to thrive all season. It is attractive to butterflies. This variety is perennial in zones 6-11.

14-20” tall x 12-18” spread. Full sun.



LUSCIOUS® Royale Cosmo Lantana

The first in a new sub-series of smaller lantanas, this restrained selection is a bit more petite but packs the same dynamite bloom power as its big brothers and sisters. It fits easily in containers and window boxes either grow on its own or paired with other sun loving plants. Clusters of fragrant, hot pink and yellow bicolor blooms attract pollinators all season. Like all Luscious lantanas, it produces little to no seed and is heat and drought tolerant, which helps to keep the plants blooming from spring through fall.  Attracts birds, butterflies and bees.

12-26” tall x 12-24” spread. Full sun.


SUPERTUNIA® Royal Magenta Petunia

Improving on one of the longest standing varieties in our lineup wasn’t easy, but we’ve found a look-alike that grows stronger with a nicer shape and greater flower power. Magenta blossoms with a black throat are extremely eye-catching in combination containers paired with other dramatic colors like black and chartreuse. Expect outstanding all-season performance without having to remove the spent flowers, even in hot, humid climates, like all of our Supertunia petunias. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

6-12” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.



INTENSIA® Red Hot Phlox drummondii

We’ve found the ideal plant to include in your patriotic flower pots and window boxes. This amazing plant is covered in true red flowers from early spring through fall without having to remove the spent blooms. Its mounding shape and vigorous growth makes it a fast filler for hanging baskets, upright containers and landscapes. This species of Phlox is extremely tolerant of sun, heat, humidity and drought, so it withstands the heat of summer with ease at a time when some other plants might struggle. Grow it like you would a succulent, but expect fantastic flower power, too.  Attracts butterflies.

 10-16” tall x 10-16” wide. Full sun.


We’ve taken this popular super-sized salvia and made its awesome flower power even better. Bright violet blue flowers emerge from purple calyxes which hold their color after the flowers are spent, giving the illusion of being in bloom over a longer period. New flower spikes continue to emerge all season long above the bushy, bright green foliage, even in the hot, humid conditions of the deep south. This plant is the perfect thriller for large containers and a fantastic vertical element for landscapes. Pollinators will delight in its flowers from spring through fall. Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

2-4’ tall x 2-3’ spread. Part sun to sun.


ROCKIN’® Deep Purple Salvia

If you want to see pollinators in your garden, plant a salvia. This new selection is more refined than its predecessors, forming a dense, bushy clump of deep green foliage topped with large, deep purple flowers with black bracts all season. Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees delight in their sweet nectar. Planting this large-sized annual is a quick way to get a lot of color in your landscape in a short amount of time. It works great as a thriller in large container combinations too. Attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

18-36” tall x 24-30” spread. Part sun to sun.



Want to learn more about pollinator plants for the garden? Check out these links:



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